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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Networking in Sydney Writers Festival "Getting Published"

I enjoyed networking in the workshop, "Getting Published : Words to Wise," in Sydney Writers Festival like I discussed in this popular post, "Networking, Illustrator's Essential Skills." The panellists : Robert Watkins, Lex Hirst, Rosie Waterland, James Arvanitakis talked about publishing from both sides, an author and a publisher/editor. The main points of how to get published are "courage to submit a well polished manuscript, uniqueness, resilience to publisher/editor's feedback." Their discussion eloquently shows how difficult for an emerging author to be read by an editor. Editors are very selective and read only good work. 
The lecture room was almost full. I sat at the first front row to sketch panellistsEveryone turned his body into all ears, except me?! in a very relaxed mood. But a paradox, I could get the speaker's say very well and often laughed, nodded and thought of my mentors and a publisher, Helen Chamberlin. 

The speakers are ; 
Sociology Prof James Arvanitakis is a chairman, in the Humanities at Western Sydney University and the Dean of the Graduate Research School.
Robert Watkins is a publisher of literary fiction and non-fiction at Hachette Australia, and has been working in the Australian book industry for 20 years. 
Lex Hirst is an editor at Penguin Random House, working across titles on Random House's print and digital lists, from memoir to true crime to literary fiction. 
Rosie Waterland is a popular writer of memoirs ( she’s never got rejection!) this decade and a media phenomenon.
Because Robert was from Hachette, I wanted to see him in person. Helen worked at Hachette Lothian Books from 1990 to 2008. 
Robert Watkins Publisher (Hachette) 
The speakers discussed about publication from a publisher and an author's view with humour. From an emerging author's side, Robert, Lex, Rosei and James clarified the essential elements to get a manuscript published : "Be fu**** brave! Have your own voice. Originality. Flexibility to accept feedback and respond it well." Other lovely episodes in publication were disclosed such as cover design. How much James got excited, when he looked at it in the visit of Oxford Uni (Gulp, I thought of my cover work "Linguistic Diversity and Social Justice" (Oxford Uni Press) by Prof Ingrid Piller this year!). Rosie rejected a cover for five times (Ooops, it scared me enough! But Rosie told me later, "It was my own photo." Oh, I got relieved so much!)  
From a publisher / an editor's side, Robert, Lex and Rosei addressed how important to submit the best work to a publisher. It sounded like a common sense or etiquette. "If you think it needs to change more, please do not send it to a publisher. Send the best." They all agreed so painful to read unsophisticated lengthy manuscripts in little spare time in busy days. I carefully listened to a publisher's stance. Robert said that a manuscript had to get through many meetings in a publisher. The cost of publishing a book is equal to buy a house! I perfectly understand the huge risk of publication from a publisher's financial aspect. So, even if a publisher rejects a manuscript, we ought to be grateful for all the involved people. Even if a text should come up on a publisher's discussion table, an author must appreciate it and should thank for a publisher's hard work and celebrates his/her talents partially recognised by professionals or experts, I believe!   
Lex Hirst, Editor (Penguin Random House)  
In a Q and A time, participants often raised questions how to work on the feedback from a publisher / an editor. "Do what they say," was the all panellists's unanimous answer. Yes, I do and we always work in a team in publishing industry. I deeply thank for any publishing team. Helen Chamberlin and Ann James's names are very famous. The speakers knew them. Because of their names, the panellists showed interest in me and picked up my business cards. I got their signatures in my sketches. *So sorry, I mistook Robert's Maxine Beneba Clarke for Maxine Mckew!! **Maxine Mckew is my good client and a strong supporter. Anyway, I worked hard for networking.
Rosie Waterland, a popular writer and very friendly lady
Btw, it seemed that only me and another lady were the illustrators and visual artists in the workshop. One old illustrator talked to me in a hall before the workshop. At first I did not get who she was. (*she published her picture book more than ten years ago and after that no publication) and asked me how was it going. I told her my published work such as a picture book Moon, the book covers of linguistics books by Oxford this year, Edinburgh uni press next year and ongoing projects with Helen Chamberlin and Ann James. It surprised her. "Why did you come here?" I was going to connect the guest speakers and ...sketch them! After the workshop, I told the old illustrator in the hall, "I'm very happy that I could work with Helen Chamberlin, my dreamed editor and am working with her. Windy Hollow is a small publisher, but I'm so happy."
The workshop showed how challenging for an emerging talent to crack into market. At the same time, publishing a book is so laborious and too risky for a publisher. Again, I am so grateful for all of my mentors or mothers. Thank you, Helen, Ann, Jess! 
How much they've cared for me... fed me and nurtured this emerging illustrator. 
All of them have encouraged me to write stories and illustrate them. I was very reluctant to do so. Now, I feel how lucky I have been!! 
I felt like crying out there. Oh, thank you, Helen, Ann, Jess and all supporters. 
You really have spoilt me for years. 
Furthermore, I could / can get projects from education and academics.  
It is certain that I've been very blessed and so much fortunate. I told the panellists how caring and friendly Australian picture book industry was. Rosie smiled and agreed, "We're a good community!" Indeed, what a wonderful community I belong to!! Then, happily, the guests and I said good bye. Some people say, "You're not an emerging artist any more." But I always feel so. 

The great bonus is that I could see you and you have become wonderful and supportive friends. Love and smile, big ((hugs))
Friends, Happy Connecting! Happy Painting!   



  1. Thank you, Olivier! Best wishes, Sadami

  2. Did these speakers know that you were sketching them while they spoke. Am sure they would have forgotten half the things they wanted to talk about. Ha ha. Jokes apart, as usual, you do magic with your hands.

    1. Hahaha, nice, and thank you, AK! Yes, most of them saw me scribbling something. When they knew my drawings after the workshop, all had a big smile and took photos of my drawings. Yes, drawings have a magical power. Sure, your hands, too, have it!! Best wishes, Sadami

  3. You have good, supportive people around you, Sadami, but your hard work and determination have been a big part of getting published and I hope it continues. Let's see a dozen Sadami books out there in the years to come!!

  4. Thank you very much, sweet Rhonda! Guts and perseverance are my assets. You, too, please take care and enjoy watercolour painting!! Best wishes, Sadami

  5. I love your impressions of the speakers, Sadami!

    1. Thank you, Judy! I just do my best in everything. Best wishes, Sadami

  6. Love your sketches of the speakers --they are wonderful! no wonder they all loved it too :)

    1. Thank you, Meera! "Seeing is believing," the sketches brought friendship. You, too, enjoy drawing and art work. Best wishes, Sadami